Why Selling Out Is The New Keeping It Real

Trevon Muhammad August 9, 2015 8

When you think of the term “sell-out” – what comes to mind? Rappers making Pop songs? Politicians changing laws to suit their friends in big business perhaps or maybe even your favourite footballer leaving for a bigger club. Chances are though, that you, much like me and everyone we know never thought about the man(or woman) in the mirror.

That’s right! We’re all sell-out’s! You, me and the guy across the street!

This “revelation” came to me just yesterday as I watched a perfect example of  “selling out”; this awful Mary J Blige Burger King advert. WARNING : NOT FOR THE FAINT HEARTED…..

Thanks to the thousands who took to twitter and other sites to voice their disapproval of the “stereotypical” ad, Burger King have removed it from TV and say that it was “Unfinished”, a claim backed up by the singer herself. According to a statement released by Ms Blige the advert was supposed to feature a “dream sequence” which was not included but dream or no dream, finished or unfinished – she was singing about fried chicken!!

What’s wrong with that I hear you ask?

Poisoning the Public : Burger King certainly doesn't prolong life does it?

Well, aside from the fact that she’s reinforcing a stereotype,Fried Chicken is one of the primary reasons why so many people suffer from ill-health particularly in the black community. Considering the fact that she’s a cultural icon and thus has strong influence among the black community, she’s pretty much sending her people to the slaughter house for a fat pay cheque and that’s what we call selling out.

Now, yes it’s probably true that most black people like fried chicken and you could argue that her endorsement of it wouldn’t make much of a difference but that would be missing the point. She was prepared to throw her weight behind something which is undoubtedly detrimental to the health of her many fans for a couple million dollars.

Reading through the comments on YouTube and various other sites discussing the issue though, I realized that the majority of  people couldn’t understand why it was a mistake for her to endorse such a product. After all – “she was making her money” and that’s when it hit me – We’re all sell-outs.

In our society, it’s every man for himself. It’s not about building communities, it’s not about having principles or morals – money is the bottom line. Even those of us who criticised Mary J Blige have to be honest with ourselves. Which of our principles or beliefs would we put above a couple million quid? Very few….if any.

Money on the Mind : Night & Day….

That’s the sad reality of the world we live in. It’s the reason why rich nations can rob 3rd world countries of their resources and watch as the inhabitants starve. It’s the reason celebrities endorse products and negative behaviour without thought of their effect on viewers. It’s the reason why we sacrifice our dreams and dedicate ourselves to dead end jobs without thinking about building something tangible to pass onto our children and their children.

Here’s the catch though – if in our scramble to attain “success” we’re willing to trade our core values than what have we really gained? Perhaps that’s why many a celebrity has attained everything one could possibly want and yet found themselves battling depression.

So let us promise the man (or woman) in the mirror – that as we strive to attain our goals in life, we stay true to ourselves and keep hold of the principles and beliefs which make us who we are.


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  1. Ammiel Branch April 12, 2012 at 12:25 pm - Reply

    Very well written and a joy to read

  2. Nii-Klotey Quaye April 14, 2012 at 10:39 am - Reply

    Good article bro, true words throughout. I’ve already shared it with some of my peoples, keep it going!

  3. M.West April 15, 2012 at 12:41 pm - Reply

    I read it and really enjoyed it! That was the worst ad I have ever seen, It was actually hard to watch. Money or not… ew

    I work in marketing, and I would never attach my name to a company I didn’t agree with. And that’s my job. Just ew.

  4. Jonnie Marbles April 17, 2012 at 12:46 pm - Reply

    I like it. Unusual to say for a piece of writing, but it could have done with more – when did we start selling out why?
    Take that as a compliment though – brevity is always better than droning on….

  5. Vanessa Sarpong April 17, 2012 at 12:50 pm - Reply

    Interesting and true. I Somewhat agreed

  6. Vanessa Sarpong April 17, 2012 at 12:51 pm - Reply

    “We should stay true to ourselves and keep hold of the principles and beliefs which make us who we are”. #Boom

  7. Hassib Azizi April 17, 2012 at 1:10 pm - Reply

    Wauw, thats an interesting point of view. It is kind of harsh to say that we are all sell outs, but in a non direct way, it sadly is true. Especially, like the article is quoting : “It’s the reason why rich nations can rob 3rd world countries of their resources and watch as the inhabitants starve” . However, I do think that the ordinary men can retain itself from being selfish if he would just really keep to his basic cores. I for instance always try to keep true to my morals, but I can understand it for people higher up to be way more difficult to retain themself from selling them selfs out. What goes for the matter of the BK commercial,, the fuss is just really bullshit. I can maybe understand the view of fried chicken being unhealthy and all, but we all know that the fuss isn’t about her promoting unhealthy food. People shouldn’t always be so short fusy about such things. Btw, the article was really well written, props to that !!

  8. Hashim Perez April 17, 2012 at 1:11 pm - Reply

    Read the article, a short but yet powerful piece of writing that serves as a reminder to many of us who lives in a society that money can easily be the goal. This will always make us hungry individual with no concern over those who surround us. It was a good read!

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